Thursday, December 12, 2013

Fidel and Raul Castro: Lap Dogs of Imperialism

Raul Castro and Fidel Castro with close ally Mengistu Haile Mariam

Democracy Now over twitter yesterday quoting the late Nelson Mandela raises a provocative question that deserves to be answered: "How many nations threatened by imperialism or fighting for their freedom have been able to count on Cuba?"

There are at least three that can respond that the Castro brothers supported the overthrew of their national governments in favor of expanding of Soviet Imperialism in Asia and Europe and a genocidal dictatorship in Africa:

1. Czechoslovakia (1968)

Two days after the Soviet led Warsaw Pact invasion of Czechoslovakia on August 23, 1968 Fidel Castro publicly supported the invasion and occupation this led to Carlos Franqui, one of the early backers of Fidel Castro's July 26 movement to break with the regime in 1968 over Castro's support of the invasion. Part of Castro's defense of the invasion and occupation was that basic human rights standards such as freedom of expression were being re-established or in Castro's words:
A series of slogans began to be put forward and in fact certain measures were taken such as the establishment of the bourgeois "freedom" of the press. This means that the counter-revolution and the exploiters, the very enemies of socialism, were granted the right to speak and write freely against socialism.

2. Ethiopia (1974 - 1987)

Emperor of Ethiopia Haile Selassie I served first as regent of Ethiopia from 1916 to 1930 and was emperor from 1930 to 1974. He was the heir to a dynasty that traced its origins to the 13th century, and from there by tradition back to King Solomon and the Queen of Sheba. At the League of Nations in 1936, Emperor Selassie condemned the use of chemical weapons by Fascist Italy against the people of Ethiopia. 

Emperor Haile Selassie's internationalist views led to Ethiopia becoming a charter member of the United Nations, and his political thought and experience in promoting multilateralism and collective security are still viewed as part of his enduring legacy. Despite inspiring the founding of a religion that today has up to 800,000 followers he remained an Ethiopian Orthodox Christian.

Emperor Haile Selassie was deposed and killed in a military coup and it is believed that the officers smothered him and that Mengistu Haile Mariam: "ordered the emperor's body to be buried head down in the palace and had a lavatory erected over the grave so that he could express daily his contempt for the monarch."

Castro also supported the suppression of the Eritrean national movement in the 1970s. Beginning in late 1977, the first 5,000 of what would eventually number over 17,000 Cuban military personnel arrived in Ethiopia. By 1987 the Cuban presence had dropped to fewer than 2,000 personnel. During 1977-78, a conservative estimate of over 30,000 Africans perished as a result of the Red Terror unleashed by the Ethiopian Communists and their Cuban allies. Amnesty International concluded that "this campaign resulted in several thousand to perhaps tens of thousands of men, women, and children killed, tortured, and imprisoned." Sweden's Save the Children Fund lodged a formal protest in early 1978 denouncing the execution of 1,000 children, many below the age of thirteen, whom the communist government had labeled "liaison agents of the counter revolutionaries." 

Mengistu Haile Mariam was aided by the Castro brothers.  Mengistu was found guilty of genocide on December 12, 2006, and was sentenced to life in prison in January 2007.

3. Afghanistan (1980)

In 1980 Fidel Castro supported the Soviet Union's invasion of Afghanistan. This placed him in a very difficult situation at the time as the head of the non-aligned movement. In Cuba the regime delayed reporting in the official news on the invasion for days.

Conclusion: Fidel and Raul Castro supported Soviet Imperialism

The historical record demonstrates that both Fidel and Raul Castro were lap dogs of Soviet Imperialism during the Cold War. Their efforts in Africa should be looked at within the Cold War context. The Castro brothers have been consistent in their anti-Americanism but not in their anti-Imperialism.

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